Sanna’s lastest 20 thing challenge update

Hello everyone!

How are your challenges going?

My original 3-week’s challenge has ended, but I will keep going for another week as it has only now begun to get a little harder and I’d like to find some more hidden clutter to get rid of. The pace is getting a little challenging meanwhile, but I will do it for the rest of July!

For me, it has been a success so far. I kept decluttering my 20 things a day and even got rid of some more (all together another week’s worth). Mostly sewing supplies, photos, paper and office supplies had to go, but I also got rid of the odd item of clothing, dishware and a couple of books.

Meanwhile, the difference is visible. I could fit some more stuff (wool stack, photos,…) into our cabinet in the living room and alongside with the other decluttering opened up quite some space in our storage/laundry room that way.

Most things I got rid of weren’t valuable at all and I made excessive use of a cardboard box with a “for free” sign on the sidewalk. Pens, pencils, jewel cases, file binders and other doodads found a new home that way. Most of my sewing supplies went to a friend who will make good use of them and a couple of other items went to the charity shop. A couple of broken things went straight to the bin. Despite my frequent decluttering, all the stuff was not only drawn from their hiding places but actually also sent on its way to a new home.

I feel really great about having done this challenge (although I’m not quite done as I mentioned! 😉 ). My home is not perfect now, especially as I have to sort through my paper work and also give my computer a good declutter. But – and it’s a big “but” – the clutter spreading in the apartment has really slowed down. Things don’t spill as easily from drawers or cupboards, I got rid of almost all underused items that have been here as a back up of my favourites and only cought dust (e.g. my second hair brush) and I’m down to much more reasonable numbers of “use it up” supplies.

I think, it’s astonishing quite how many items I could so easily let go. After all, I have been decluttering for years and most of the items I got rid of in the last weeks have been there from the very start. More than 500 completely unnecessary items went and to see how relatively small the impact was nonetheless made me realize just how many items must be around still. So, no matter that we are just living in an apartment and probably own less than many other people, there was still a whole lot of stuff I can’t even remember the minute I got rid of it. So, I will continue in this pace for July and after that continue decluttering on a daily basis, though one item will be fine as well. The new state of the apartment feels so much better than before and I think strapping another 500 or so items will do only good!

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter a few pieces of jewellery that you no longer find the desire to adorn yourself with.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Well done to you, Sanna. I said I’d keep you company on this challenge with 25 items a week (because most of the clutter in the house is my husband’s stuff). Anyway, I shed 40 items in week 1, 25 in week 2 and 26 last week. I will do a fourth week but it’s getting tricky (and how I’m itching to throw out his audio and video tapes!)

  2. I’m still on a roll with this Sanna, glad you’re going to continue through the end of July, and beyond, even if at a slower pace. I have a question for this group – I have a stack of beautiful, high quality, vintage linens. Things like tablecloths, napkins, hand towels, and placemats. I’m not ready to give them to a thrift shop… yet. I looked on ebay and the market is flooded with this type of thing, so I don’t know if I want to go through the hassle of going that route. Any ideas??? Thanks!

    • Barbara – I hate to sound like a thrift shop snob but I would agree that such lovely items deserve a better outcome. If it were me I would want them to go to someone who would appreciate their value. So I’d either put them on ebay for a bargain price where people looking for such items would notice the listing, maybe even generate a bidding war. Or I have listed items on freecycle and gently ‘interviewed’ the people who have requested them. Most people in my area volunteer a reason why they are requesting such an item.
      Alternatively are there any historic trusts in the area, museums, theatrical clubs that would appreciate the items?
      A few years ago, my home town asked for some specific vintage items for the historic village and received more than they were hoping for, I believe they passed on the excess to another town with a similar project.
      Am really curious what other ideas are out there.

    • Barbara, it’s lovely that you are so fiercely decluttering, too! 😉

      Maybe you could also give these items to a antiques dealer or maybe a friend with an Etsy shop! 🙂
      In my city there are also flea markets that are sort of “high class”, with people selling handmade goods or really cute vintage things etc. No huge bargain bins, but really neat market stalls… people there would pay good money for such linens! Maybe you have a possibility to join something like that or offer your things to someone who does sell at such a place.

    • Hi Barbara, I’ve just revisited my collection of linens in the last few days . My major decluttering took place years ago and I have lots of cupboards with empty shelves, so space is not an issue, but I personally do not want to have a whole lot of possessions -especially hidden away . So -after much deliberation I have kept 6 beautiful embroidered tablecloths of varying sizes -and this is my reasoning -I truly appreciate the hours and weeks and months of effort that went I to making them –and every time I bring them out and handle them I think about the person that made them -I feel more a sense of stewardship than ownership -so I will keep them for the time being . I am looking after them, appreciating them and one day will happily pass them on when it’s appropriate to do so . But I also had half a dozen gorgeous vintage pure linen tablecloths and I decided to move them on -gave them to the op shop for someone to find and enjoy . No individual had put their heart and soul into them ( like the embroidered ones ) so once I realised that it was easy to let them go . And you are right -ebay is flooded with similar items . I have quite a few vintage and antique linen tea towels -I love them , appreciate them , wonder about who once owned them -and use them all the time ! So that’s what worked for me . Would be interested to hear what you decide to do !

  3. Sanna, you are doing really good. Sometimes it is the little things that get put off to the end because they tend to hide. I think it is great that you are finding and decluttering so many little things.

    • Yes, it seems so. As I just mentioned to Lena, my boyfriend seems to finally have turned into a minimalist, so maybe we will even implement even more radical methods here soon!
      I’m absolutely in a “no more fussing about” mood and apparently he is, too. So, maybe we will get that last big declutter done in a big and quick purge.

      • this “no more fussing about” mood is contagious. you keep going, he will follow up eventually. and I will too.

        I made huge progress within the last weeks. almost daily I went through things and I was being radically honest. I took the courage and broke with this stupid, but very powerful mantra of “every household should have one”. what a relief!
        and I am thinking about writing a inventory. the thought of it is not as scary as it was a year ago. and I might end up with decluttering small items!

      • I hope your boyfriend really gets into this and you soon have a lot more gone that you’ve been wanting to declutter.

  4. Well done Sanna! I’m still on a roll too. I’m not sure when the big pile will make it out the door but I’m focusing on adding to it while I’m house bound this week, rather than worrying about drop offs and acquiring boxes etc.

    Yesterday my husband who I work for asked me to list more items on freecycle, including a small two drawer filing cabinet and set of office drawers (this is over and above the two big filing cabinets the day before) so I did and someone is meeting him this morning to pick up. But what we didn’t realise was this filing cabinet was chock full of papers! Yes more papers. So he has bought me home the contents to sort thru. So I will finish filling the document destruction wheelie bin (125 litre) before pick up day after all! This is my second one in three months.

    • Moni, 125 litre!!! You must feel so good about having it gone finally!

      • Sanna – yup that’s a lot of paper, especially as we’ve filled two in three months. A lot of it is tax records for our business but also a big box from our home that was our ‘safe place’ for papers, bills, notices etc while we were painting. It is surprising how many paper documents we hold onto because they’re neatly filed in a folder.

    • Good for your husband, Moni. Looks like he is really getting into this too. Good that you are able to fill that wheelie bin too. I’m sure it feels good.

      • Deb J – Adrian has always been a fan of decluttering, but more in a he points out that needs to go and I’m the one who has to do something about it kind of way.

        • Moni, yes I remember that about Adrian now you mention it.

          • Deb J – well he does point out that when we got together he had a bed, a sleeping bag, a beer fridge and a toaster. Everything else arrived after me. Cute story but not entirely accurate.

          • Moni, sounds like a man. Isn’t it amazing how once they marry they suddenly have all these things they want? All life events change what we want in life. We just need to admit that we all tend to accumulate if we aren’t careful.

  5. Moni, thanks for your thoughts regarding my vintage linens. I hadn’t considered museums or other historic avenues, I’m going to check into that. I also liked your idea of eBay with the thought that the linens would end up with someone who would appreciate and care for them. More than anything, I want them to go to a good home!

  6. well i fell behind in my challenge after a great start due to a legal hearing i had to prepare for & then dealing with the aftereffects of the huge strain i was under.

    i have however decluttered some items from my wardrobe today as well as donated 3 large bags of stuff i had been collecting including two items i had dithered about for a very long time.

    tomorrow i hope to tackle a small box of books & software i have been undecided about and still am. not sure i will ever use them but find them hard to let go as it wld be pricey to replace i think…spss type stuff.

    • best rule: easy stuff first!! if you are undecided, keep them.
      but keep in mind that software and scientific books will be outdated rather sooner than later. so you might end up replacing either way. I decided to get rid of most of my scientific books as I will not work in this field for a period of time, and when I do in the future, I will always have the possibility to go to libraries and copy the most important parts of those books. Better to sell them now, so someone get use and you some money out of it, than keep them until they are of no more value…

  7. Hello Sanna & all commenters!

    I don’t post often, but am still highly enthusiastic about decluttering & this blog is Total Inspiration for me.
    There is something that has caught me about Sanna’s challenge. I’ve been decluttering for a long while now &
    it goes very slowly because most things left are in the “use it up” mode.

    However, you know how people always say when attempting a Large Undertaking it is best to break it down into small
    bits? I have used this over & over to good results (the slow & steady approach so unique to this blog). Well,
    Sanna’s challenge has lit a fire under me in a couple categories: photos, old letters, & assorted sentimental paper
    memorabilia. I’ve embraced the challenge of decluttering 10 photos a day, and 10 letters or papers. It is
    completely motivating to me because it is, like Colleen advocates, approximately 10 minutes a day worth of effort. I believe it is the smallness of the challenge that has gotten through to me! And, although I can’t see much difference YET, I have every reason to trust that if I keep on doing this, the results WILL show.
    After all, I can visually see 20 items exiting (skinny as they may be!).

    Thanks for continuing to motivate and inspire, everyone!

  8. Just dropped off approx. 133 items at the charity. I’ve been working on these for the past couple weeks although I didn’t officially join the challenge – but I was keeping it in mind! It took a concerted effort to get this all out of the house. I’ve been meaning to get it all there for two weekends and finally made it happen today.
    On the way home my husband mentioned some more books that he’s willing to part with so I’m starting another give away box!
    For the past couple mini-missions I got rid of one necklace, 3 pairs of earings and two pins from my jewelry box.
    I don’t have a garage, basement or attic anymore but I got rid of some large rolls of specialty tape (electrical, I think) that used to be in our garage and that we moved with us. They are large, heavy and as renters now we have no use for them. Out!

  9. i’ve decluttered over 100 items since the 1st, which surprised me since I thought 2 a day might be a stretch. I plan to take your advice about handling each item and do our bookcases next week if I have time. I usually just look at titles, but they need a good cleaning so plan to take everything out and look at each item and decide, even if I have to do just one shelf a day. Today, I separated some large notebooks into separate smaller notebooks–such as sewing, decluttering, etc. which sounds like a step in the wrong direction, but the large ones were heavy and bothered the arthritis in my hands. This will make it easier to find what I am looking for since I will only be looking for one thing–today I was looking for clothing alteration articles to take in some slacks. They must have been mislabeled there is much room in the thigh/hip area. I did some decluttering along the way, but didn’t count the pages. I usually call 15 minutes for that type paperwork 1 item. I don’t know how you count decluttering the computer, but I try to do that once a week. It will be fun to see what the number is by Aug. 1st.

    • Way to go Nana. I think it is great that you are getting so much done. Good idea about dividing up the articles into binders you can handle easier.

  10. Hi Sanna,
    I love reading your updates. Your comment “a whole lot of stuff I can’t even remember the minute I got rid of it” is so true! Over the past couple of years I’ve been donating lots of stuff (to my local Animal Welfare League charity shop as well as to the local tip shop), selling stuff at car boot sales, and giving things away to friends. The very surprising truth is that I don’t miss any of it and I really can’t even remember most of it!
    I even recently donated my wedding dress to the NICU Helping Hands Angel Gown Program Australia. At the time it was a hard decision to make, however, I don’t miss my dress at all – it was such a lovely experience and an honour to donate my dress in support of their hard work.

    • Kelly – I wish I had a magic wand to make my wedding dress disappear. 20+ years, so old fashioned no body would ever want it. The hoop skirt, puff sleeves, big bow at the back. It’s quite funny I’ve met a lady who was married around the same who had an almost identical dress. I was hoping that this year my daughter would take part in the refurbishment section of a sewing competition thru school where old wedding dresses get made over to something modern but they didn’t have that option this year. My husband says we have the space and it’s not a big deal. My guess is that someday something will come along and it will be the right opportunity for it to go.
      In the meantime, I think you did a great thing donating your dress.

    • Kelly, it’s exciting you found such a great place to give your wedding gown. Good for you on all the other decluttering too.

  11. Congratulation Sanna, isn’t it amazing how much inspiration one gets by setting an immediate goal of so many items per day. Although I have been busy lately your mission has inspired me dig a little deeper. I did try to keep up with photographing the items but sometimes I am so keep to get them out the door that I forget. I do have some pictures to share with you and the readers but will give myself another week to see if I can extract at least twenty more items from the nooks and crannies in my home.

    30 minutes later: I was so inspired I got up half way through this comment and went digging for stuff. There is quite a pile on the dining table ready for photographing the eliminating. In fact I have to go across town this morning so I will get those photos taken and deliver some of the items to their drop off points. Others will go straight in the bin. There is mostly maintenance decluttering items among this stuff. Batteries and ink cartridges to drop off for recycling, expired meds and receipts that no longer need keeping. However there are also a few genuine declutter items among them too.

    I also had my shower, got dresses and made my bed while I was at it.

    Once again may I say WELL DONT Sanna. Sometimes the items may be quite small but it does make a difference when they aren’t cluttering up places in our homes.